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US: Stocks gain for second day, trimming October losses

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks rose solidly for the second straight session Wednesday, easing the losses from a bruising month following good employment data and mostly solid earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up one per cent at 25,115.76.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.1 per cent to 2,711.73, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index won 2.0 per cent to close at 7,305.90.

The rally lifted most industrial sectors, especially financials and technology companies. But it did not significantly dent earlier losses from the month, leaving the S&P 500 off nearly seven percent for October.

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"For believers in equity market seasonality, October did not disappoint with equities experiencing one of their worst drawdowns since the global financial crisis," Nathan Thooft, senior managing director at Manulife Asset Management, told AFP.

"The month was full of tricks and nightmares but seems to be ending with a treat."

Stocks have been under pressure due to a variety of factors, including worries over higher US interest rates, trade war fallout and, most recently, a potential Democratic takeover in Congress in next week's midterm elections.

But the pullback throughout the month also created conditions for bargain hunting, with stocks "oversold" following the rout, analysts said.

Facebook was a big winner, gaining four percent after reporting a nine percent jump in quarterly profits to US$5.1 billion following much higher revenues.

Other large technology companies also advanced, including Amazon, up 4.4 per cent, Apple, up 2.6 per cent, and Google parent Alphabet, up 3.9 per cent. Apple will report earnings of its own on Thursday.

General Motors surged 9.1 per cent after reporting third-quarter profits of US$2.5 billion in results that bested analyst expectations by a wide margin thanks to strong operating profits in North America and China.

But Kellogg dived 8.9 per cent after cutting its profit outlook due to higher spending on investments.

AFP